Jim Thorpe--All American

  • 1951
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Biography, Sports

Sports and big teeth. Burt Lancaster sets his jaw and plays one of America's greatest athletes, the wondrous Jim Thorpe, a Native American who captured gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, only to be stripped of them because he had played semiprofessional baseball, violating his amateur status. This biopic begins...read more

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Sports and big teeth. Burt Lancaster sets his jaw and plays one of America's greatest athletes, the wondrous Jim Thorpe, a Native American who captured gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, only to be stripped of them because he had played

semiprofessional baseball, violating his amateur status.

This biopic begins with Billy Gray portraying Thorpe as a youth on an Oklahoma reservation. Lancaster takes over as Thorpe matriculates to the all-Indian college at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he begins playing football to impress Margaret Miller (Phyllis Thaxter), his college sweetheart and

future wife. Coached by the legendary Glenn "Pop" Warner (Charles Bickford), he captures All-American honors, then goes on to glory and disappointment in Stockholm, followed by an illustrious career in professional baseball and football. When his young son dies, Thorpe's spirit is broken, and he

turns to the bottle, losing Margaret.

Thorpe was actually enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and his Olympic medals have been posthumously restored. As usual, Lancaster did most of his own athletic feats. Unfortunately some of his performances tend to confuse bravura with thoughtful interpretation. Curtiz tries hard to infuse

the predictability with life, but the formula is the real champ here. Adequate.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Sports and big teeth. Burt Lancaster sets his jaw and plays one of America's greatest athletes, the wondrous Jim Thorpe, a Native American who captured gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, only to be stripped of them… (more)

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